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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: MHT File Photo, Undated Photo
St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church
Inventory No.: B-3731
Other Name(s): Huntingdon
Date Listed: 3/27/1974
Location: 3009 Greenmount Avenue (MD 45), Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Description: The original 1847 St. John’s Protestant Episcopal Church was a Gothic Revival church representative of the Ecclesiological movement in church architecture. A tower was added in 1849. However, this church burned in 1858 and rebuilt in on the remains of the original walls and foundation. The transepts and chancel were later, 1878, additions to the rebuilt structure. The present structure is of stone with granite and wood trim and Early English in style. The nave consists of four bays each with lancet window and stone buttresses. On the south side, the porch and chimney are survivors of the fire, reincorporated into the new structure. The south transept also contains a double door with stained glass lights and transom, flanked by lancet windows. Above this door is a large cinquefoil window. The north transept is similar, although there has been a shallow addition along the north side of the nave which does not interfere with the integrity of the whole. The chancel and choir are on the east, as dictated by tradition. Above the altar is a tripartite window with the figure of Christ flanked by St. Matthew and St. Luke. The bell tower on the northwest corner, another survivor of the fire, contains an arched doorway surmounted by double lancet windows with a large pointed louvered aperture above, which is repeated on all four sides. The spire is of the broach type, broken at intervals by small triangular windows. The remainder of the west façade contains a large pointed stained glass window. Inside, the walls are finished in plaster with exposed ceiling ribs. The carved pews and richly carved reredow are stained oak. Several of the original stained glass windows have survived. Significance: St. Johns Protestant Episcopal Church of Huntingdon, situated at the corner of York Road and Old York Road in Waverly, was founded in 1843. The name Huntingdon derives from the early community laid out on land originally granted to Tobias Starnboro in 1688 and known as "Huntingdon." The name was changed to Waverly in 1881 as a result of rapid growth in the 19th century and the establishment of a post office there. The congregation first met in a stone building 30 yards southwest of the present church, which was known as The Barracks, a powder magazine and post for Federal troops. The Federal property was purchased in 1844 and construction began in 1847. In 1849 a parish school was erected, and used until 1902, when it was converted to a parish hall and offices. In 1858 the church was set on fire and virtually destroyed by an arsonist. A new structure was begun almost immediately, using the remains of the foundations and wall. This church building was consecrated in 1860. A rectory was built to the north in 1868, and an orphanage for boys established in 1885; this orphanage was closed in 1912 and has been demolished. The cemetery which was begun in the 1850s completes the complex---a charming bit of Victoriana surviving amidst the hustle of commerce and traffic which is the Waverly of today. A number of local prominent persons were among the parishioners. Jacob Aull was a builder who constructed many of the fine homes in the original Huntingdon community. Samuel Wyman was a wealthy merchant and philanthropist who was responsible for many of the improvements to the church and gave an anonymous gift of nearly half the cost of rebuilding following the fire. Charles H. Dickey, another member of the parish, was president of the Consolidated Gas Company of Baltimore, and Talbot Denmead, President of the Maryland State Game and Fish Protective Association, donated land beyond the city limits for the establishment of a mission, St. Michael’s Chapel. Perhaps the most beloved and best known of the many prominent parishioners was a woman, Lizette Woodworth Reese, a teacher and writer who immortalized St. John’s in two of her books, A Victorian Village, and The York Road. She taught at the parish school from 1873 to 1875 and following a long career as a teacher in the Eastern High School, was buried in St. John’s Cemetery.


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